No doubt, knowing and managing your processes is one of the most important business tasks. So the purpose of this article is to share ideas for business process management (BPM) and business process management software.
The guide here includes definitions, tips, system requirements, useful tools and techniques. You can make a comparison between different software vendors and companies, find free small business solutions, and more.
I will try to share my understanding of business processes and related software in a simple and useful way.
The article includes following sections:
- What is BPM?
- BPM Diagrams
- Business process management software requirements
- A list of business process management systems
Table of Contents
What is BPM?
Let’s start with the basis. First, what is a business process? For me, the business process includes all preconditions, dependencies, steps, and tasks we need to have and do in order to achieve predefines goals.
In most cases goals include new products or services, increased income, customer satisfaction, legal requirements, and many others.
But reaching the goals is not that easy. You need to know AS-IS situation, define TO-be situation and to make GAP analysis. When you have that you need to define and confirm one or more processes in order to reach TO-Be situation. Well, you need to keep an eye on the existing processes, also. And here comes so called Business Process Management (BPM). So what is BPM? It is simply the management of new and existing processes.
And here comes so called Business Process Management (BPM). So what is BPM? It is simply the management of new and existing processes.
Ok, there are some important terms which describe BPM such as:
Preconditions & Dependencies – mandatory requirements for starting a process.
Workflow – this is simply moving from one step of the process to another. and all related tasks, activities, requirements, etc. Workflows can be done in sequence and in parallel.
Business Process Lifecycle – usually managing a process is an iterative task and has some steps.
- Design – this step includes analysis of new and existing processes, a definition of starting and ending points, process flow, alerts, notifications, exceptions, procedures, handovers, etc. This is the most theoretical part of the management.
- Modeling – this step includes mostly “theoretical” testing and “what-if” analysis. The main purpose is to check how different changes may impact the process.
- Execution – obviously, we need to implement the new processes and to change existing ones.
- Monitoring – once implemented the process should be monitored in order to check if it’s achieved the predefined goals.
- Optimization – Small but a constant improvement of the new or changed process.
Business Process Re-engineering – Well, in some cases the implemented processes do not meet the goals, or major events arise, or legal requirement, or a competitor. In such case, all or some of the processes need to be revised and changed. This major change is called re-engineering.
Business Process Mapping – it is is difficult to be short here but…..mapping provides more details especially in a definition of roles and responsibility for each step and task.
Frankly speaking, when I want to make a BPM diagram, I am using UML Activity Diagram as a basis. The activity diagram has everything – swim lanes, activities, decisions, connections, exceptions, etc.
Here is a simple example of activity diagram:
You can create more detailed diagrams of course. The main elements of the BPM diagrams are:
- Predefined process
- Text Message
BPM diagrams could support teams and managers to have a better understanding of the underlying processes. They are applicable in many areas – IT, sales, product management, finance, customer services, etc.
Business process management software requirements
So obviously, if you need software you need a robust and flexible system which supports most or even all BPM requirements. Most important of them are:
- Process identification features
- Process analysis options
- Diagramming tools
- Live-cycle management features
- Features supporting process mapping
- Re-engineering options
- Collaboration options
- Track changes
- Modeling process and what-if analysis
- Web-based and mobile features
Most of the BPM tools have some or most of them in order to provide good quality to their users. Nevertheless, you need to pay attention to the above requirements during software selection.
A list of business process management systems
OK, there is no perfect solution for BPM tools but in any case, you can find excellent examples here.
BonitaSoft is one of the best and most popular business process management systems.
There are some very important reasons why. BonitaSoft has an open-source version with a massive community of contributors which makes it suitable for small business. Well, it has and subscription version for the enterprise clients also. Which means cost flexibility.
BonitaSoft offers a really big set of features which provide not only BPM but moves further beyond.
First, it supports all basics BPM models and notations (called BPMN 2.0) and this helps to make professional diagrams. You can assign tasks and actors and collaborate with all stakeholders.
But this is not just a diagramming tool. You have REST and Java APIs which allow you to integrate with other applications including ERP, CRM, etc.
You can make personalized applications which run on web and mobile devices which provide tons of flexibility.
BonitaSoft provides many features for business process mapping and re-engineering in real time.
And this is not all – you have error handling, KPI tracking, powerful dashboard, clustering, reports, and more.
All the above makes BonitaSoft one of the best software you can have as free open-source or buy as enterprise version.
If you need more information – visit BonitaSoft official website.
CWA Process & QM Suite
CWA is one of the best business process management software around with many useful features.
You have the basis – a very user-friendly modeling tool with BPMN notation. Also, there is a module for managing organization charts which come handy. Another useful tool is embedded samples and templates.
CWA supports various types of workflows which automate processes and saves time and cost. The software provides flexible workflow approval options, re-engineering, and version comparison.
But business process features are just one aspect of CWA tool. You have modules for quality assurance, document management options, reports, and more.
CWA is web-based system and has useful feature for collaboration between experts and stakeholders.
All the above makes CWA very useful tool for both small business and large enterprises.
For more information – visit CWA process website.
ProcessMaker BPM Software
ProcessMaker BPM Software is one of most user-friendly business process management software. It is simple but powerful enough and very stable.
This software is offered as a cloud solution, on-premise and as open-source. Which is great and allows you to have cost flexibility.
The major features are:
- Process designer – great drag and drop BPMN notations with many customizable options.
- REST APIs for easy integrations with other software
- Dashboard and KPIs features
- Android/iOS application
- User Portal
- Document builder
- User Management
- Many additional enterprise features.
You can easily do process modelling, mapping, and re-engineering with the above features.
So, ProcessMaker BPM Software is flexible, powerful, excellent for small business, and with enough power to fit large corporation requirements.
More information – on the official ProcessMaker BPM site.
AuraPortal is another excellent business process management software.
It is popular and powerful tool which provides many options for process management as:
- Process modeling options
- Process support
- Process simulation and execution
- Document management
- Ready templates
- Analytics features
- Dynamic case management
- Collaborating tools
- Business rules management
- Content management
- Monitoring and reporting tools.
So having AuraPoral supports all 3 major step in BPM – drawing a diagram, setting roles and responsibilities, and implementing the process into a live environment.
Implementation is quite fast from 1 month to 6 months depending on the level of your enterprise.
All that makes AuraPortal one of the top business process management software you can get.
More information – on the AuraPortal website.
cDevWorkflow is one excellent option if you are looking for business process management software.
It has easy-to-use designer which has all needed tools and features. It is intuitive, supports BMPN notation, and is flexible. You can start process modeling almost immediately. Process lifecycle management and re-engineering are supported also.
cDevWorkflow allows easy integrations with other applications which come really handy.
The system has workflow management features with embedded process decision engine which helps workflow simulations.
The business intelligence real-time tool is also available and could provide very useful data.
cDevWorkflow is especially useful when you need to manage a massive number of processes. It has great search features, robustness, and usability.
If you need more information – you can visit cDevWorkflow website.
Magic BPM is online cloud solution for business process management.
It is fast for implementation, intuitive, easy for collaboration, and not very expensive. Which makes it a great solution for small business.
But it does not mean that Magic BPM does not have all needed features. Not at all.
You have process modeling features, execution options, process optimizations, business intelligence, and more.
Magic BPM has connectors for integration with other software. It has configurable alerts and notifications. And useful tools for monitoring and reporting.
So it is one great business process management software.
If you need more information for it – you can check the Magic BPM website.
MyInvenio is another very useful business process management software.
- Process modeling and automated analysis
- Powerful dashboard
- BPMN and BI integration
- Process monitoring , evaluation and optimization.
- Re-engineering features
- Different validation and alerts
- Export process model in BPMN 2.0
- Import and export in XPDL 2.1
MyInvenio is offered as a cloud-based solution with free and premium features and on-premise solution. So you can have cost flexibility which is OK for small business. Cloud solution is stable, has good support and is well secured.
If you need more information – visit the MyInvenio website.
OK, this is one of the leading business process tools.
It is very simple and intuitive system but it really has powerful features.
KissFlow is based on 5 simple steps:
- Decide model
- Build form
- Design workflow
- Set user rights
- Go live
Bu all these simple steps has many nice features. You can easily model, monitor, optimize, re-engineer all your processes.
KissFlow offers dashboard with tons of useful data. It offers analytics, KPIs, reports. Integration with another software is a piece of cake and you can access the software via Android and iOS.
Pricing is very flexible. You can start with a small investment and upgrade later which is cool.
The system has a great major community, excellent support and a number of training materials.
So if you want to have more information – visit KissFlow website.
IRIS Business Architect
Iris Business Architect is a great business process system. I mean really it has everything you need in order to make process modeling, simulation, optimization, and re-engineering.
But when I say that the Iris is a business process tool, I am not 100% correct.
This system is so much more than process management! I mean BPMN is just one of the features inside.
Iris Business Architect is one of the best enterprise management software I have ever used.
It has so many features – you can manage your organizational structure, you have TOGAF compliant asset management, it has many great tools for collaborating with the teams, you can have business requirement management, and product management, and tons of diagramming options, and import/export in many formats…and…and…and. You have the picture.
OK, all that with a price. Iris Business Architect is not the cheapest software in this article.
But it is worth any penny and if you need a great tool this is an excellent option.
And if you need more information – just check their website.
So, this is my list of good business process management software. It is definitely not full and I am sure that there are many other great tools for process management. If you know some other useful BPM systems you can contact me via comment or the website contact form.
Also, if you need some additional information about business process management, you can visit www.bpm.com. It is the industry leader in BPM knowledge, implementation, analysis, and researchers.